Will not change stance on 18th Amendment even if entire family is arrested: Bilawal

Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Monday that the National Accountability Bureau can arrest his entire family but it still won’t deter him from changing the PPP’s stance on democracy, the National Finance Commission and the 18th Amendment.

The PPP chairman was addressing media outside an accountability court on Monday where former president Asif Ali Zardari had attended a hearing related to the Toshakhana reference.

Bilawal alleged that his lawyers were not allowed to go inside the court. “The public and lawyers were not allowed to come to the court. Is this an attempt to pressurise us or the judiciary,” he asked.

“Are you so afraid of president Zardari?” said Bilawal, adding that the “entire police” of Islamabad was deployed at the court’s premises.

Bilawal said that the government can do whatever it wants but the PPP will not compromise on the 18th Amendment.

“We are feeling that there is pressure on us, we are being threatened so that we can tow the same line,” he said.

The PPP chairperson accused police and administration of misbehaving with the people.

“Today is August 17, every jiyala remembers August 17,” said the PPP chairman, calling it a “mango day” in reference to the plane crash of former military dictator Zia-ul-Haq.

Bilawal continued that there was a “puppet” sitting in the Prime Minister House and “his strings are being operated from elsewhere”.

The PPP chairman warned that attempts were being made to control everyone like a puppet.

“PPP has faced the dictatorships of Yahya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Musharraf,” said Bilawal.

The accountability court hearing the Toshakhana reference against former president Asif Ali Zardari will frame charges against the PPP leader on September 9.

Today, Zardari appeared before the accountability court to attend a hearing in the reference. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the party leadership had advised workers not to attend his hearing.

As soon as the former president arrived in the courtroom, Bilawal called upon party workers present to leave the premises. He urged even the attorneys’ assistants to leave the courtroom due to the prevalent COVID-19 situation.

Zardari’s lawyer Farooq H Naek complained to the court that he was not allowed inside the courtroom despite being a senior lawyer.

The NAB reference filed against Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif accuses them of obtaining the cars from Toshakhana (gift depository) by paying 15% of the price of the cars.

Zardari also received cars as gifts from Libya and the UAE when he was president and used them for his personal use instead of depositing them in the treasury, the anti-graft body had alleged.